MBA Admissions Counseling Packages Reviews
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Stratus Admissions Counseling
MBA Admissions Counseling Packages
Comprehensive MBA admissions consulting services with an experienced team of dedicated MBA counselors with degrees from top schools. The team is made up of a Primary Counselor, Senior Strategist, School Specific Readers, Qualified Proofreaders, and a Client Relationship Manager. Comprehensive guidance is offered per program to ensure that you present your most compelling narrative throughout the admissions process.

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     By PDisclosure 6 1

This is a real review I promise - I actually had such a bad experience with Stratus Prep that I kept it in my to-do list to write a review on my experience. Fortunately I can say that I'm writing this review after having just graduated from the Booth School of Business, two years later. I'll be working in a marketing role for L'Oreal in NYC after having come to Booth with five years of engineering experience from ExxonMobil.

Keep in mind that my experience deals mostly with Dileepan Siva, my consultant, as I worked directly with him. I also worked a little with Shawn the founder, but his involvement was pretty limited – just one or two consulting sessions with him.

I spent a little over $6000 on a 3 school package - MIT, Stanford, and HBS (round 1). While I was deferred for HBS and MIT to round 2, I ultimately was dinged by all 3. I then decided to apply for Kellogg, Booth, and Wharton in Round 2 and got into Booth off the waiting list.

I initially did some research before picking Stratus Prep – they seemed reputable and there were positive reviews out there. Once I signed up with them, I went through an initial consultation with Shawn and then was paired with Dileepan. Up to that point, everything seemed great and I was excited to work on my application. From that point on you start to work on your application, essays, recommendations, and resume. They make you complete some pre-work exercises to come up with your strengths, weaknesses, goals, etc. Sure, this is helpful, but my biggest gripe is that is it worth $6000? No. In fact, I ended up getting into Booth not even having used Stratus Prep. That was a result of me working my tail off after being on the waitlist (in which they make you submit another application) and then making a trip out there to visit the school which I think is something everything applicant should do BEFORE they even apply. You’ll find out a lot about a school and whether you’ll like just by visiting it.
Having now gone through business school and knowing what schools value in applicants and students, I can tell you that you’re much better off talking to a current business school student or recent alum and getting their input for free. Even buying a book or reading blogs will be much, much less than $6000. Trust me, b-school is not cheap by any means and that $6000 is going to come in very handy.
Those reading this review might think I’m biased because I didn’t get into any of the schools I applied to using Stratus Prep and also because the schools are top business schools and so getting in is sometimes a crap shoot. I agree with the fact that the application process can be a black box, but I feel justified in saying that my experience with Stratus Prep and Dileepan was not personal at all. Sure, he provided feedback on my essays, but honestly that was about it. There wasn’t a real desire to find out about what career opportunities were the best fit for my personal strengths and interests. They do this once you get to business school, but I think it’s even more important to know this during the application process. The saddest part was that at the end after I had gotten dinged by all my R1 schools, I never heard from Dileepan again. I didn’t even bother to tell him that I eventually got into Booth.
Anyway, save the $6000 and instead spend time prior really understanding why you want to go to business school and talk to as many people as you can to understand their perspectives. Then enlist the help of friends and family to read through your essays and resume and that should be good enough.

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     By Philip212 1 0

Overall I moderately impressed with Stratus’s package. I felt like they were a little conservative in their school selection (Obviously it’s to their incentive to get you into school and not risk it on a better school). I felt the packet that was provided was not very useful. Seemed too structured and one size fit all. I did get into every school I applied to so far, still waiting to hear back from one but am satisfied with at least one of the three I have been admitted to.

My personal consultant, Santosh, was very helpful and always responded quickly. He seemed very interested in me getting in and guiding my decision. He definitely would deserve a 5 star rating.

In sum Stratus is worth the money if you really need a guiding hand in the process. They are not magic workers and really don’t have any secret sauce so if you are a good planner you are probably better off just paying for review of essays by them or someone else.

I should note that they are providing me a $20 Amazon gift card for providing this review.

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Top 5 Program Admit
January 22 | 2018
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     By fostera3 0 0

I recommend working with Stratus Admissions to anyone who is serious about applying to top MBA programs. I began working with my consultant, Donna, through the MBA Early Edge Package about 18 months before I applied to schools. Through the Early Edge Package, we identified opportunities to strengthen my application profile with enough time to make important improvements. Many of the improvements became core pieces of my essays and interview answers.

Since Donna and I had already been working together for a year through the Early Edge Package, we were in a great position to hit the ground running when essays and applications were released. Donna was very responsive, genuinely interested in my success and provided excellent, school-specific feedback. Her experience as as a full-time MBA admissions officer prior to Stratus allowed Donna to provided expert advice on each application and guidance navigating the stressful application process.

With Donna’s insight and the support of the entire Stratus team, I was admitted to my dream school and look forward to attending a Top 5 MBA program this year! If you are serious about attending an elite MBA program, starting with Stratus as early as possible will help achieve your goals!

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Worth the investment
January 14 | 2018
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     By zuperman11 26 1

As an MBA reapplicant to my dream school, I didn’t want to simply submit a similar application and cross fingers that it was going to be looked at with different eyes. I knew the areas that were under my control and the ones where I could use some help. I had an initial free consultation with Susan who helped me reassure that I could improve my application.

I got a 5 hour package (at the end I got an extra hour), where we worked on essays and interview prep. My consultant (Susan) was extremely responsive (always heard back in less than 48hrs) and she was able to put my story together in a way that I wouldn’t have thought. She was really good at pointing out certain aspects about my story that I was not considering or didn’t think they would add any value. I certainly felt I was submitting a much stronger application after hitting the submit button.

I got admitted to my dream school, and I know that it wouldn’t have been possible without her help. Beyond the outcome of my investment, was always very pleased with the service I received from my consultant and the Stratus team. I would highly recommend Susan and Stratus.

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     By subhayan1985 1 0

After debating for some time on whether I should be taking support from admissions consultants for my B-school applications, I decided to take the plunge. Having a score of 710, and being an Indian male Engineer, I was in one of the most competitive pools of B-school applicants. I got admitted into 2 out of 4 schools I had applied to. These schools were chosen by me and not by Stratus.

I chose Stratus after talking to a number of admissions consulting providers. The ‘free of charge next round’ feature, where Stratus works with you to submit application to the school of your choice for free in case you did not get admitted in Round One, was attractive to me; a feature that I did not find in any other admissions consulting service provider.

My consultant was Santosh Prasad who has an excellent personality, friendly demeanor, and thorough understanding of the application requirements. Through the initial exercises, I developed a strong understanding of what detail to be included in the B-school applications. The meetings with Santosh was set up at times convenient to me. He even accommodated weekends, which was very helpful based on the busy schedule at work.

We, as applicants, need to understand that the ad coms have a limited amount of time to go through each application. Having said that, there must be something in the application that makes it stand out within that limited time. Santosh helped me carve out those unique features in my application. He also guided me on what points to include in my essays, and how to structure them.

I would also like to point out that the fees in Stratus are substantial, however, the other consulting firms that I checked with had similar fees as well. The point I am trying to make is that admissions consulting is an expensive service to avail.

On the whole, Stratus was a good experience and Santosh is the consultant you should look for in case you choose to go with Stratus.

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Stratus Review
December 15 | 2017
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     By kayyali89 0 0

Professional, accommodating, and personable. The Stratus consultants are organized, strategic and will help you obtain your goals. I could not be happier with the services they provided. They have a very methodical approach that accounts for your needs and helps you find the programs/schools that fit, and then devise a strategy to help you be successful. Their team-based approach ensures that your application materials and strategy are looked at by different eyes, each providing their input. I especially appreciated how accommodating Melisa was. We changed the rounds that I was applying for very close to the deadlines and she would turn around essay comments and respond to questions very quickly and thoroughly. Her support shepherded me through the stressful process. Stratus is an investment that is well worth it. I highly recommend utilizing the Stratus expertise!

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     By aspiry16 0 0

I will be joining Columbia Business School for FT MBA in Jan’18. Susan, Director MBA Admissions at Stratus, was my MBA admission consultant and my go-to person throughout my application journey. I owe my success to her and team Stratus. I can confidently say with no iota of doubt that I would not have got this admit without her support and guidance.

My GMAT is 720(Q50 V37) and I have ~10-year work experience in oil and gas industry. I used to work for one of the leading oilfield services providers and I have worked worldwide offshore in various setups (read remote environments with limited connectivity). Susan supported me through my unpredictable work travel plans and serious network issues and remained as an immense source of encouragement and positivity. She was always an email or a call away, which helped me keep my application process on track. This particularly was more relevant in my case as I come from a non-traditional background and not many of my peers/friends have done/applied for MBA. Susan helped me craft my story in such a way that I was able to present my candidacy in the best possible manner. Having said this, I would not shy away from mentioning that “crafting” part is not a one-day or a week job at Stratus. When I started working with Susan, I had a very detailed introspection, which was formally documented. This was the most challenging part for me. The constant struggle to decide or judge which achievement is good or not good enough for MBA applications was challenging. Fortunately, I had Susan by my side. She NEVER decided anything for me. She NEVER wrote for me. Instead, she made me THINK. This was not very obvious to me sometimes but as I progressed through the other steps of the application process (writing essays, admission interviews), I realized the importance of introspection. Having done all the thinking and brainstorming upfront, I became very adept at crafting my story and presenting my thoughts in a concise and effective manner in essays and later during mock and real admission interviews.

My introspection document became my reference to pick my stories/themes. The strategists at Stratus help you revisit your life experiences and accomplishments and discover yourself, albeit from the MBA-application-angle. With a very detailed introspection by my side, I had a joint meeting with Susan and Salma (former senior consultant at Stratus). Salma brought in her expertise and along with Susan, helped me distill my thoughts and pick the best themes from my personal and professional journey to be presented and highlighted in application essays.

Stratus follows a very structured approach to writing application essays. After Introspection and later school-selection, the second step is to write the outlines for the essays. In my case, these outlines were always first reviewed by Susan followed by the reviews by other consultants (school specific). What truly impressed me was Susan’s ability to convert my raw and very rudimentary thoughts to very powerful essay content. Harold who is another senior consultant at Stratus was my second reviewer and he always brought his unique expertise to the game. I was immensely benefitted by his dissection of my outlines and essays. Once the outlines were approved, writing essays became much simpler. What appeared to be a daunting task in beginning, became a second nature to me over a couple of months. Later during the interview preparation stage, I had access to all the knowledge and expertise at Stratus. After getting mock-interviewed by school-specific consultants and receiving a detailed feedback and great suggestions to improve, I never felt the need to look outside to fetch any information. The entire application process in itself is so taxing that diverting energy in different directions can prove to be counterproductive. Thankfully, it was not the case for me at Stratus.

The team Stratus genuinely wanted me to succeed. This was very evident in every interaction and engagement I had with the team. Susan always ensured that I have the best resources to craft and present my application material. In addition to the access to other school-specific consultants at Stratus, Susan also brought in her latest knowledge about various other schools that I was targeting. This knowledge came in from attending various MBA conferences, sharing experiences of other successful Stratus clients and from her experience of being a former Adcom at Fuqua. But most importantly, Susan's positive and upbeat attitude helped me withstand the demanding journey.

Now, as I prepare to start my new journey at CBS, I can't stop thanking Susan. This is a dream come true for me. I always thought Columbia would be a long shot for me but Susan encouraged me to dream, prepare and apply to CBS. A dream that is a REALITY now!

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Good guidance
July 23 | 2017
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     By phoenixgirl 2 0

I was very skeptical about working with Stratus initially because of some warnings that someone gave me, but I was glad that I still chose to go with them. I signed up with them right before the Thanksgiving weekend and started working with them in December. Given that I had only about a month to apply to 6+ schools, anxiety kicked in and I was frustrated at Stratus for not having that sense of urgency that I was facing. But it was a learning process for me to place my trust and faith in them and their timeline. Everything went smoothly since I obviously made this my top priority and tried to do a quick turnaround. I worked with Santosh and he was sensitive to all my concerns and responded promptly to all my questions. Definitely worth it for the guidance and knowing you're not going at it alone!

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     By bglackey 0 0

Stratus Admissions went above and beyond all of my expectations. One of the most important things that they did was to help me understand the different MBA programs better and to find the specific program that matched my core values and goals in life after graduation.

I was matched with Cartha Siddiqui, we both have a background in energy, which meant that she understood a lot about my professional experiences before we even met. This was very helpful and I appreciated the fact that Stratus Admissions strategically selects the right counselor for you based on your background and needs.

Cartha was very good at helping me brainstorm ideas for my essays as well as helping me understand what qualities the admission teams were looking for. To be clear, Stratus will not write your essays for you, but they will give you lots of introspection homework to help you to understand yourself better, which puts you in a better position to write you own essays.

The only thing that I would do different if I had to do it again is to hire Stratus Admissions sooner in the application process.

I can not say enough good things about Cartha and the Stratus Admissions Team, and I would recommend them to anyone that is interested in making their application as professional as possible, understand what the different MBA programs strengths and weaknesses are, and understand who you are better through the homework and introspection that you will be doing throughout Stratus's program.

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     By kxz 0 0

I owe Stratus Prep, and specifically Susan Cera, a lot when it comes to knowing how to shape my application and convey my story into the right words for each school I applied to. I ended up getting into a dream program, even with so-so GMAT scores, an average undergraduate GPA, and under 4 years of working experience. I signed up for the 4-school package and am proud to say I'm attending a top 10-15 program this Fall!

Susan was always available to talk through email, phone, or Skype even though we had a 3 hour coastal difference (California to NC). She had a good, upbeat attitude and always had something constructive to say from the initial application process to the mock interviewing. I was even waitlisted and she gave me sound advice throughout the lengthy waitlist process. I would definitely recommend StratusPrep!

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33 Older and Non-Verified Reviews for MBA Admissions Counseling Packages
Most Reviewed Stratus Admissions Counseling consultants
Santosh (Sam) Prasad [19]
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Harold Simansky [10]
Susan Cera [7]
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